New Combined Authority to drive transport investment
A new body to manage investment worth £1.5bn for transport and economic infrastructure was formally established this week.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which includes City of York Council as a partner member, will ensure effective links with the wider functional economic area and with the business community.
The investment includes significant funding devolved from Whitehall as part of the recent City Deal. The West Yorkshire Councils were asked in July to formally agree to the creation of the Combined Authority and submit the plans to Government.
City of York Council passed a resolution to become a ‘partner/ non-constituent member’ on the Combined Authority which will see Government to establish the new body and devolve significant new powers and funding to it from April 2014.
Cllr James Alexander, leader of City of York Council, said: “Today marks the start of a new era for Local Authorities. Through these new powers, which for the first time will be decided at a local level, we aim to invest and address in long overdue transport needs, including improvements to York’s Outer Ring Road, better bus interchange at the Railway Station and the provision of access to the York Central development site.
“This is a flagship government policy that brings devolution to Yorkshire and investment in York's infrastructure - housing, transport, development sites and business accommodation, which is crucial to the city’s sustained growth and economic prosperity. Partnering with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority allows us to strengthen the links between our key supply chains and shared markets, and enable vital improvements in the city’s transport and economic infrastructure.
“The establishment of a Combined Authority represents a significant move forward in the economic ambition for this city, as a major economic player in the region.
“We also welcome the North Yorkshire LEP growth bid to government which will support the ring road improvements, and we look forward to working with them on future avenues on funding.”
Establishing a Combined Authority is a key requirement of the Leeds City Region ‘City Deal’, which was agreed with Government last year. It gives partner councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership greater control over economic investment and decision-making. The transport element alone is expected to deliver 20,000 jobs and grow West Yorkshire’s economy by over £1bn a year.
City of York Council has agreed to fund its initial contribution (year one feasibility work) to the Transport Fund through its Economic Infrastructure Fund, a £28.5 million fund set up by the council to provide funding for projects of strategic importance to the city’s ambitions, in creating jobs and growing the economy.
For more information about the WYCA visit the new website at www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk